Drug Trends Alabama
Alabama State Facts
Law Enforcement Officers: 11,378
State Prison Population: 37,300
Probation Population: 39,697
Violent Crime Rate
National Ranking: 21 2004 Federal Drug Seizures
Cocaine: 220.7 kgs.
Heroin: 2.0 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 3.8 kgs.
Marijuana: 1,075.5 kgs.
Ecstasy: 0 tablets
Methamphetamine Laboratories: 296 (DEA, state, and local)
Drug Situation: The drug threat in Alabama is the widespread availability and
abuse of illegal drugs arriving from outside the state, along with its homegrown
marijuana and the increasing danger of local manufacture of methamphetamine
and designer drugs. Conventional drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and
marijuana comprise the bulk of drugs arriving in and shipped through Alabama.
Colombian, Mexican, and Caribbean Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs),
regional DTOs, as well as local DTOs and (casual or one-time traffickers)
are responsible for the transportation of these drugs. Additionally, Mexican,
Caribbean and regional DTOs have extensive distribution networks within the
State of Alabama. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are also supplying methamphetamine
on a very limited basis through their own distribution network within the
state. Local production of methamphetamine is on the rise.
Cocaine: Although most drug seizures and arrests are attributed to marijuana,
cocaine hydrochloride and crack cocaine continue to be a huge drug threat in.
The addictive nature of cocaine destroys otherwise productive lives and the
violence associated with cocaine distribution cripples many of Alabama's lower
income neighborhoods. Although cocaine use has no ethnic or geographical boundaries
in Alabama, cocaine street-level distribution is dominated by the African American
culture. A large percentage of Alabama's cocaine is supplied by Mexican sources
in California, Arizona, and Texas, however Alabama's proximity to Atlanta and
Miami also poses a significant threat. Atlanta is a huge transportation hub
for both airline and tractor-trailer traffic, thus posing a drug transportation
threat to Miami has always been a major international drug importation center
and several of drug trafficking organizations have ties to the southern Florida
Heroin: Heroin has not been a significant factor in Alabama in past years,
however intelligence indicates that more recently the presence of heroin is
on the rise. Most of the heroin in Alabama is transported from Jamaica; however,
a recent sample from a seizure indicated the origination of the drug was New
York. Of the heroin found in Alabama, the drug is not only becoming available
in a purer form, it also is becoming more affordable.
Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine has become the biggest drug threat in Alabama.
Although marijuana continues to be the number one drug of choice, methamphetamine
has surpassed cocaine in abuse across the state. An intelligence and enforcement
effort has been initiated in Alabama to identify major drug trafficking organizations
involved in methamphetamine importation, manufacture, and distribution. There
has been a dramatic increase in the number of clandestine labs discovered in
Jackson, Marshall, Etowah, Madison, Houston, Baldwin, DeKalb, and Walker counties.
Methamphetamine labs are found principally in isolated, rural communities.
Seizures and intelligence show that bulk methamphetamine distribution in Alabama
is dominated by DTOs supplied by sources in Mexico with transportation routes
based in California, Arizona, and Texas. These Mexican DTOs utilize tractor-trailer
trucks, rented or personal vehicles, airlines, and U.S. Postal Service or commercial
carriers to transport methamphetamine to Alabama. Street level methamphetamine
distribution and use is divided into both the Hispanic and Caucasian cultures.
The gaining popularity of methamphetamine abuse in small towns and communities
is directly responsible for the increase in thefts, violent assaults, and burglaries.
EPIC statistics reported 289 laboratories seized in CY 2003 compared to 257
laboratories in CY 2002, indicating illicit manufacturing is on the rise.
Club Drugs: “Club Drug” abuse and distribution among young people
is on the rise in Alabama. Increases in arrests, overdoses and seizures of
these designer drugs been reported and indicate a trend toward increased availability
and trafficking Ecstasy, LSD, and Ketamine. MDMA, LSD, GHB, and Ketamine are
readily available throughout the state, more commonly found on college campuses
and at venues. GHB and MDMA have emerged as the club drugs of choice and the
end-users are young Caucasians at all economic levels but users are particularly
college students and rave participants. Alabama’s stateside sources of
supply Miami, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia. The use and distribution of
Ecstasy has continued to increase in Alabama. Intelligence reports indicate
the sources of supply for Ecstasy in Alabama include Miami, Florida; Germany;
Auburn, Alabama; and Nashville, Tennessee with most coming from Atlanta, Georgia.
While Ecstasy is still the number one "club" drug of choice, GHB
and the analogs are growing. GHB has become a significant threat in Alabama.
Investigations have revealed solvents that contain GHB analogs are being obtained
from the Internet. GHB overdoses have been reported in the Ozark/Dothan, Birmingham,
Auburn, Mobile, Huntsville, and Decatur areas of Alabama. LSD, which can be
found in many forms, has not seen a large increase of abuse in Alabama over
the past several years.
Marijuana: Marijuana has always had a strong presence in Alabama. However,
in the past few years, a transformation has been seen in the level of dealers
in the area and in the size of loads commonly seized, especially in the Huntsville
area. Only a few years ago, a seizure of 10 pounds of marijuana was fairly
rare, and was considered a rather significant seizure. Today, it is not uncommon
for Huntsville to seize loads of 50 to 100 pounds. The overall production of
marijuana within the state continues to decline while the transportation into
the state via the highway system is on the increase. The main sources of marijuana
coming into the state continues to be from Mexico with connections to South
America as well as through port cities of Florida and the Port of Mobile. African
American and Mexican criminal groups transport multi-kilogram to multi-hundred
kilogram shipments of marijuana to Alabama from the Southwest Border. Marijuana
is typically transported into the state via commercial and private vehicles,
and via package delivery and express mail services. Even though the highway
system is a confirmed route for most of the marijuana seized in the state,
another strong possibly could be the International Airports in the state.
Pharmaceuticals: Alabama continues to see an increase in diverted pharmaceuticals
across the state. OxyContin is still the number one pharmaceutical drug abused
across the state. The sale and production of Vicodin has increased in recent
years slightly, along with the illegal use of the drug. In addition, current
intelligence and investigations indicate that Alabama is a major market for
Dilaudid. Distribution in Alabama has increased due to the fact that the price
of heroin in the New York area has fallen dramatically causing the bottom to
fall out of the market for Dilaudid. Distribution organizations are targeting
the metropolitan areas of Alabama, as the price they receive for Dilaudid is
higher in Alabama than in the source areas.
DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local
law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming
problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation.
There have been 409 deployments completed resulting in 16,763 arrests of violent
drug criminals as of February 2004. There have been nine MET deployments in
the State of Alabama since the inception of the program: Selma, Pritchard,
Alabaster, Enterprise, Gadsden, Anniston, Bessemer, Green/Tuscaloosa Counties,
DEA Regional Enforcement Teams: This program was designed to augment existing
DEA division resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United
States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. This
Program was conceived in 1999 in response to the threat posed by drug trafficking
organizations that have established networks of cells to conduct drug trafficking
operations in smaller, non-traditional trafficking locations in the United
States. Nationwide, there have been 22 deployments completed resulting in 608
arrests of drug trafficking criminals as of February 2004. There have been
no RET deployments in the State of Alabama.
Drug Trends by State